Sam’s Grill up for another century of no-nonsense dining 

click to enlarge Fresh fish has been a staple at Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant for nearly 150 years. - COURTESY MICHAEL GARLAND
  • Fresh fish has been a staple at Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant for nearly 150 years.
The term classic is literal – and used in the best sense – when it comes to Sam’s Grill, the 147-year-old eatery in San Francisco’s financial district. (It’s only the second location for the grill and seafood spot, which is among the oldest in The City, next to Tadich Grill and The Old Clam House.)

Lovingly saved from extinction by a group of mostly anonymous investors and loyal fans, and subtlely refurbished (though happily not updated – the wood-walled booths are intact), Sam’s is the ultimate blast from the past. It’s perfect for diners seeking simple, moderately priced, no-nonsense food and drink.

The menu at a recent fun, welcoming “nod to our past and toast to our future” dinner – hosted by friendly and accommodating Peter Quartaroli – featured Drake's Bay oysters on half shell, standout charcoal broiled petrale sole and surprisingly snappy sauteed button mushrooms.

Cold asparagus and mixed greens with shellfish were fresh, if not overwhelming exciting, as was the penne pesto. An inviting hunk of sourdough was accompanied by a mountain of butter.

A big bonus is the professional, experienced service by men in tuxes. Giovanni, a veteran of 41 years at the eatery, waited on our huge table on a recent weeknight.

Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant

Location: 374 Bush St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 421-0594,

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

Price range: $10 to $36

Recommended dishes: Charcoal broiled fish ($19-$28) Drake's Bay oyster on half shell $16-$30), sauteed button mushrooms ($7)

Credit cards: All major

Reservations: Accepted

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Leslie Katz

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